According to Samsung, it made 90 per cent of the 3D TVs sold in Europe in the first half of 2010. That doesn't surprise us, as the company was one of the first to have 3D hardware ready to sell, and it also launched more 3D models than any other company. Selling loads of something isn't necessarily indicative of quality, so has the company created a raft of brilliant hardware, or just a slew of average TVs?
To get a better idea, we got Samsung to lend us a 46-inch UE46C7000. This £1500 3D LCD with LED backlighting is quite likely to be one of the company's most popular TVs, as it's more affordable than larger models and will fit in more homes.
Thin, light and super gorgeous
As with most LED TVs, the C7000 is ludicrously thin and stylish. Samsung is still at the forefront of TV design, and we're always amazed that each year it produces something new and different to the previous generation. Whatever your current TV looks like, you'll get a kick out of this C7000 -- it's a beauty.
The only downside to its size is that most cables -- except, thankfully, HDMI -- need breakout adaptors. This is because the TV doesn't have much space for full-size cables. These adaptors are all provided, but they do make the back of the TV look a mess and add an extra point of failure to the system, too.
Size is everything
When it comes to 3D, the bigger your TV, the better. 3D works best when the screen is big and close to your eyes. This is because the illusion of depth is lost as soon as your eye wanders outside the boundary of the screen. Sit too far away from a 3D TV and the effect will be lost somewhat. In our testing room, which is far from huge, we found ourselves leaning forward to get a little more of that 3D effect.
If you're room is of medium or large size, then we'd suggest that this TV might not be large enough for your needs. If you're not buying it for 3D viewing, however, this is not such an issue.
Ghosting in the machine
In the past, we found Samsung's 3D TVs suffered more than most with ghosting. With 3D, the image you see is made up of two separate pictures, each with a slightly different perspective. The TV generates the 3D effect by showing these images one after the other, and the glasses shut off all the light to one eye at a time. If the TV can't refresh the on-screen image quickly enough, your left eye will get a fraction of a millisecond to see the image intended for the right eye. When this happens, you'll see ghosting around the picture.
On the C7000, this problem was present, but not too severe. We noticed it most during Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, as Flint and Sam are heading over the hills to the jelly castle. Since the two characters appeared small and in the distance, they suffered very severe ghosting. With other material, it's much less noticeable and unlikely to trouble you all that much.
2D picture quality
A stand-out feature of this TV was its superb picture quality. Give this telly a high-quality standard-definition source and it really shines. HD channels that send upscaled SD material look terrific on this set because there's less compression on these channels and therefore less mess for the TV to descramble.
Even so, feed it a normal, low-quality Freeview channel and it's perfectly happy to show a detailed, colourful and pleasant-looking image. HD channels are, as you would expect, lovely to look at, with loads more detail than standard channels. A Blu-ray source will, of course, top them all. With a good-quality disc, you'll see masses of detail and incredibly rich and vibrant colours. The TV does a really good job here -- its in animation and vivid movies that an LED backlight shines.
The TV does cope well with more reserved material, too. Use the 'movie' mode to add a more muted effect to the pictures, but be prepared for a slightly yellow hue to the image. This might sound unpleasant, but we find it's the best out-of-the-box picture mode for watching films.
Purists should make sure to turn off Samsung's movie motion compensation mode, because it will render the footage low-rent and more like a cheap home video than a multi-million-dollar Hollywood movie.
One other note: when we ran a Freeview HD tuner through to the TV via HDMI, sometimes the TV seemed to mis-process the image for a second or so. This made the incoming video look like film. It was only very brief and didn't happen often, but if you're an external PVR user, it might irritate you.